IBM's new Fan Insight will be installed in NHL's Ottawa Senators' arena

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IBM has partnered with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators professional hockey club to provide IBM Fan Insight, a “predictive analytics solution” aimed to give the Senators a better understanding of how to market and essentially keep their fans’ engagement. Fan Insight will be installed in the Senators’ stadium, Canadian Tire Centre and is the first sports arena to use the technology.

IBM Fan Insight will track “fan attitudes, behavior trends, and psychographic characteristics” to provide fans with in-arena experiences that feel tailored towards their specific traits and desires. According to IBM, Fan Insight is necessary for NHL teams to pry spectators attention from their smartphones to the action on the ice. “Fans attending games at arenas like Canadian Tire Centre are no longer a ‘captive audience’ to organizations thanks to the advent of smartphones and other technologies,” said Alistair Rennie, general manager of analytics solutions at IBM in the press release announcing the Fan Insight.

IBM Fan Insight will become available in November, but what is coming may have already been laid out for fans months ago.

In an op-ed published in Forbes in May, Rich Esposito, general manager of mobility services at IBM, laid out the future of sports stadiums. Smartphones and apps provide patrons with directions to the nearest bathroom, best parking spot, different camera angles and traffic information following a sporting event are parts of the “not-too-distant future” of stadiums, according to IBM. A lot of Esposito’s future was actually the past. San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium, Levi’s Stadium, came with a Stadium app which allows fans to store their tickets, search for the shortest wait time one the food/beverage line, along with the bathroom line.

IBM Fan Insight is the sports aspect of the company’s new IBM Insight Cloud Services initiative. IBM Insight Cloud Services will use data about the world compiled from sources such as The Weather Channel and Twitter to give predictive solutions to businesses. According to the new Insight Clough Services Web page, it will provide such data as weather information for venues to better prepare for emergencies and electrical outage predictions for utility companies.

With IBM’s new Fan Insight and the recent tech advancements in stadiums for the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers in the past year, expect your favorite sports team desperately trying to get to know you.

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